Bulgaria is known for its rich history, which stretches back over 6,000 years and is on display everywhere you look, ranging from sacred religious buildings with beautiful architectural styles and colorful art to the hundreds of fortresses and historic ruins, from which some famous legends and myths were born. Bulgaria is one of the most popular beach destinations in Europe, with hundreds of miles of glittering coastline. It`s also known for its winter sporting opportunities in some of the most glamorous and affordable ski resorts east of Switzerland.
The best places to visit in Bulgaria include Sofia, the country`s capital and one of the oldest capital cities in Europe; Plovdiv, the second-largest city and another famed historic town; Veliko Tarnovo, former home of the Bulgarian Kings; and the coastal cities of Varna and Burgas. Bulgaria`s Black Sea Coast resort towns, such as Golden Sands, Sunny Beach, and Nessebar, are among the most popular in southeastern Europe. If you`re visiting during the winter, enjoy a ski getaway in one of Bulgaria`s charming mountain towns.
The best times to visit interior Bulgaria are during the shoulder seasons, which are divided up into two parts: April through May and September through October. Temperatures are nice but not too hot and crowds are more manageable since Bulgarians and other Europeans are not on their summer holidays at these times. However, crowds will definitely be around on the Black Sea Coast when it`s the best time to visit there: the summer high season. All amenities are officially open for the season in this region by the first of June and will be open through the first week of September. We recommend visiting the coast during the high season in order to enjoy all that the resorts and towns have to offer.
We recommend approximately 7-10 days based on what you want to see and do. We offer flexible vacation packages so you can select your number of nights in each city, desired hotel and activities. We suggest a minimum of 3 nights in Sofia and the Black Sea Coast.
We recommend seeing Bulgaria any one of three different ways: by car, by private transfer, or by train. We offer point-to-point private transfers for many locations in Bulgaria. While renting your own car is an option you can take, especially if you want to see the countryside or make side trips (like to Rila Monastery), it may be more practical to take a private transfer if you want to see specific cities; bilingual signage is not guaranteed in more remote parts of the country, making it difficult to navigate the roads here yourself. Vacation packages where you drive your own vehicle are labeled as `(self-drive)` on our website. If you want to see Bulgaria by train, buy a package labeled `(with Rail Pass)`. When you buy a rail pass with Bulgarian State Railways, you take your rail pass to any train station in the country and show it to receive your first-class train ticket to where you wish to go. Keep in mind that train tickets in Bulgaria are issued entirely in the Cyrillic alphabet; if you have any questions about your ticket, ask the salesperson at the counter before boarding your train.
The currency of Bulgaria is the lev, divided into 100 stotinki. U.S. dollars are not accepted. Have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for leva upon arrival. Currency exchange desks are available at the airport, most high-end hotels and resorts, and many other places around the country.
Approximately 1 in 4 Bulgarians speak English on a conversational level or better. Bulgarian is the official language, and unlike Romania and many of its neighbors, Bulgarian is written in the Cyrillic alphabet. You will find English speakers in Sofia, Plovdiv, other major cities, and nearly all areas frequented by tourists, and in these places signs and menus will most likely have English translations written in the Latin alphabet. The further you explore the country, however, the chances run higher that you may not find someone to converse with you in English. Be prepared to learn basic Bulgarian phrases like hello/goodbye, please/thank you, how much is it?, where is the bathroom?, and the numbers from 1-10. To say `Does anyone speak English?`, say `Nyakoi govori li angliiski?`